1. See animals
The best time of day to see animals is early. Since most zoo visits happen during the summer, it gets hot as the afternoon wears on. Animals will be less likely to be roaming about. Also, zoo keepers tend to feed the animals in the morning. We recommend getting to the zoo as soon as it opens so you're ensured plenty of animal action.
2. Bring food
Food is a must have to give you energy, and when you're at the zoo you're going to need a lot of energy. Buying food and drinks at the zoo can get expensive, so it's always best to bring snacks and water with you. Apples, bananas, granola bars, and peanut butter sandwiches work well. Take along items you don't have to keep cold to remove the need for a cooler, which lightens your load.
3. Take breaks
If there's one thing you do at a zoo, it's walk. This can be hard on your feet and can damper your spirits. It's important to take frequent breaks to keep your energy level up. Zoos offer a variety of "break" opportunities. From playgrounds and picnic areas to merry-go-rounds and mist systems there are plenty of break moments. The trick is to keep your eye out and saying yes when a break presents itself.
4. Wear appropriate shoes
Since walking is a key element to visiting the zoo, you have to pay attention to what you put on your feet. Only you know which shoes rub blisters and which don't. Pick a shoe you can walk long distances in and sport them, even if they make your outfit less attractive. Your feet with thank you later.
5. Choose a good day
Certain days and times are busier for zoos than others. When there's a lot of people at the zoo, you're less likely to get a good view of animals, more likely to wait in long lines, and it's guaranteed to be more stressful.
Typically Saturdays are busy days for zoos but Sunday mornings, not so much. If you get there early, people are still in church and won't be migrating to the zoo until later in the day.
If you choose a day when admission is free or disounted, prepare yourself for a more bustling afternoon. Watch out for days when schools have scheduled field trips, though it's hard to predict such things.